Learning abroad discussed at event


Natasha Bazika

Students talk to study abroad representatives at a fair Oct. 11 on the Student Union’s second floor.

Matt Churella, Opinions Editor

Students had an opportunity to discuss their interest in study abroad programs during a fair last Wednesday in the Student Union.

Pitt-Oakland’s Study Abroad Program Manager Nazir Noori was on campus to answer students’ questions about study abroad options.

Noori stood behind a table covered with informational cards that gave details about a few of Pitt’s study abroad programs.

He said that students might pick a program for numerous reasons.

“Some students study abroad to learn a new language and experience new places.

Others might go abroad to seek out their roots or improve their chances of employment,” Noori said.

Students of almost any academic discipline can study abroad, with 350 programs and 75 different countries to choose from, Noori said.

Noori said he has noticed that most students choose to study abroad in either London, Sydney or Florence, Italy.

Noori said students who want to study abroad can help lower a program’s generally expensive cost by applying for different types of financial aid, such as grants and scholarships.

Noori also said that Pitt-Oakland’s study abroad staff have been helping students go abroad since 1981. He said they hope to achieve their goal of sending 2,000 Pitt students abroad this year.

“We have come very close to achieving that goal. I think we sent somewhere between 1,800 and 1,900 students last year,” Noori said.

Someone who shares that goal is Pitt-Johnstown’s International Student Coordinator Kristina Marinkovich, who promoted the fair to students with posters and campuswide emails.

Marinkovich said that students who study abroad are exposed to different cultures and have more worldly knowledge than others who may not have experienced a study abroad program.

“I have visited different countries and I think that it is a great thing for students to think about,” said Marinkovich. “Students need to have at least 30 credits to qualify for the program. They need to be a sophomore or a junior, as well.”

Marinkovich said she invited a few people from Pitt-Johnstown to attend the fair. However, only one person showed up to help answer students’ questions and concerns about studying abroad.

Pitt-Johnstown student Kaitlyn Pawlowski represented the Vira I. Heinz program for women in global leadership at the fair.

The Vira I. Heinz Program is for women interested in global leadership. Candidates must be a sophomore or a junior with a 3.0 grade point average to qualify for a chance to earn a $5,000 scholarship.

The program is for women without previous international experience. Students will need to spend at least 28 days in their country of choice for study abroad. The deadline for the application is Nov. 1.

Pawlowski said her program received over 25 applications last year, and that she is hoping the program might see more applications this year.

Pawlowski said she studied abroad in the Dominican Republic last summer from May 31 to July 8.

Pawlowski said she is a business management major who chose to study abroad in the Dominican Republic because she hopes to own a hotel there.

“It’s a very rewarding experience to put yourself in their culture and actually be in it,” Pawlowski said.

One of the first students to approach Pawlowski with interest in the Vira I.  Heinz program was sophomore Kelsey Chabal.

Pawlowski said to Chabal that, although study abroad programs can be rewarding, it can take a while for a student to adjust their life to living in a different culture.

“I didn’t experience any culture shock, but having to use their language for the first week or so was rough,” Pawlowski told Chabal.

Chabal said her sister has traveled to Ecuador, Australia and the United Kingdom, which she said made her interested in studying abroad.

“Seeing her go abroad made me really interested in studying abroad,” Chabal said.

Martina Flanagan contributed to this article.